Exploring pulses – grain legumes in food

In this project at Business Academy Aarhus we are working towards improving the quality of legumes as raw material, ingredients and in food products.

The new dietary recommendations recently published by the Danish Food Administration puts the spotlight on legumes, not least as a particularly suitable source of protein. Legumes have the potential to replace some of the meat we consume, and thereby contribute to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Aim and background

A growing global population and the climate impact of food production systems push many consumers towards adopting a more plant-based diet, as an alternative to traditional animal-based foods. This is one of the biggest trends in the food sector right now. By virtue of their high protein content, legumes have been labeled as one the best candidates to replace animal-based foods. The protein content is also the reason Denmark imports large amounts of soy protein for use in animal feed.

With the project "Exploring pulses – grain legumes in food" Business Academy Aarhus School of Applied Sciences, in collaboration with food manufacturers and other knowledge institutions, aims to contribute to the improvement of the quality and shelf-life of legumes as raw material as well as derived ingredients and food products.

This will be accomplished through a detailed description of the protein content and composition of the legumes in question, together with a characterisation of the microflora of different plant-based products. Furthermore, the project will study consumer acceptance of partial replacement of meat for textured plant protein.

Results

New knowledge about legumes and their usefulness as a protein source will be obtained. These new insights may contribute to a better utilisation of protein in feed and food. A method for the characterisation of legume proteins will be developed in order to obtain accurate information about the protein composition. This can help reduce product variation when manufacturing textured plant protein.

Food shelf-life correlates closely with the microbiological profile. Therefore, a deeper understanding of the interactions between plant-based products and their microflora will aid product development and quality assurance. Understanding consumer attitudes towards plant-based food products from questionnaires and consumer testing can support targeted product development within the category.

The methods used in the project are chosen for their usability and represent common methods in food production and research institutions. As such, they can be a part of both course curriculums and student projects at the centre for laboratory, food and environmental technology. The established collaborations with new partners also provide further possibilities for student projects and internships, strengthening both knowledge foundation, course programmes and the food industry.

Collaboration

The primary partners are Crispy Food Nordic and the partners in the joint project IMFABA comprising Aarhus University, University of Copenhagen, Nordic Seed and Sejet Plant Breeding together with Business Academy Aarhus.

IMFABA is an acronym for local and sustainable protein production with ‘improved faba beans’.

The IMFABA project investigates the potential for selective breeding of faba beans as a replacement for soybeans. Learn more about IMFABA here.

Project duration and contacts

Project duration: January 2021 - December 2022

Svend Secher Dam

Contact

Svend Secher Dam

Lecturer

Mail: ssd@baaa.dk

Phone: +45 7228 6486

Bjørn Petrat Melin

Contact

Bjørn Petrat-Melin

Senior Lecturer

Mail: bmel@baaa.dk

Phone: +45 7228 6469